Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Three Roads

Woke up this morning at 5:15. Last night I packed everything I would need in my backpack and had my clothes laid out ready to toss on. Rolled out of bed, turned the coffee on and got dressed. Grabbed my coffee and sat down to watch the News. "Just two degrees shy of a record low in Baltimore" was just about the first thing I heard. Damn. So I ran back up, tossed on a few extra layers and out the door I went at 5:45 with 34 degrees (1 degree Celsius) and the moon high and full.


I have to admit, I was a bit nervous. I had only been down these roads twice before and both times was driving. One time I got lost. Add the fact that two of these roads are "highways", I wanted to get out on the road as quick as possible and beat the morning commuters.

I had my first big hill, so I pulled off to take a picture. It didn't turn out, but as I was tucking my camera back in, another biker came up behind me, came to a stop and asked if I was ok and if I needed anything before he took off zooming down the hill. I always like that... the unwritten biking code of checking on others whenever they are stopped.

Anyways, Veteran's Highway wasn't bad at all. General's Highway wasn't that bad either, though the lack of a shoulder was a bit intimidating, especially with the buses that travel up and down the road. I did take a little break at a cool looking church. It reminded me of my trip to England. Sunrise was at 6:12 this morning, its kinda neat to look at these pictures, from a no sun, rising sun, to full sun.



I paused for a few minutes where the guy that showed me this route connects to General's Highway, but he never showed so I kept on going. I connected to Crownseville Road which is where the largest Rennaissance Festival on the east coast is held every year, the Maryland Renaissance Festival! From the road you can only catch a glimpse of its entrance "gate" and there were enough "No Trespassing" signs that I decided to stay away.


And its "parking lot"



Anyways, I finally rolled in to work exactly 62 minutes after I took off. I think I found my new way into work! And I was the first biker in this morning (which is kinda bragging rights here in the office, so yay me).


I achieved some of my goals, which I will update later today. For now, coffee and some meetings!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

A few more websites

I frequently use MapMyRide to figure out my distances and also view some routes I plan on taking. It is a great free site, though it does have an unnecessary amount of adspam on it. While browsing around, I located a few more sites that offer the same idea as MapMyRide, but without the as many ads.

ridewithgps.com
bikeroutetoaster.com
gpsies.com

What is really neat is as I was browsing through ridewithgps, I saw a coworker who had a few rides listed, including his ride from home to work. It doesn't go down the B&A like mine does, so I altered his ride a little bit to start from my house and discovered it can cut 7 miles off my commute! Down from 20 miles, it is a mere 13 miles. Hell, 11 miles if I want to ride for a little bit on a "highway" (not really an interstate, but probably too busy, though at 6am might be doable).

Tomorrow, assuming rain holds out, I am going to give this a try. If it is viable, then it will be great, as I currently have been driving a bit south before parking and getting on my bike.

You can see my new path Here.


Perhaps you can find some rides on those for around your area too!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Goals

A big thanks to KungFoo for both adding a tab to his site and directing me over to Biking2Work. I have now added a tab to track my goals for this year. Granted, I know it will be slow going as I am trying to train up for running (hmmm, perhaps I should add some running goals) but alas, go ahead and check them out. Some of them are going to be quite easy and I can bet that I could knock out 5-10 of them in my first real ride. But hey, that will only motivate me to knock out some more, right?

But making that list made me realize just how close to things I am. My parents live 57 miles away. The Atlantic freaking ocean is 107 miles away. (Its actually much closer, but then I'd be in Delaware and who wants to be there?!?) And even cooler is Outer Banks, North Carolina is only 200 miles away! If you live on the eastern seaboard of the US and have never been to the Outer Banks, you are missing out.

I contacted a good friend of mine about possibly renting a house with him and our significant others down there in the late fall. If things go through, we will bike down over the course of the weekend and meet our ladies down at the house for the week then we will all haul ourselves back up. And if, for whatever reason, that falls through, then we can do the same thing but out to Ocean City.

It is still raining out, so I doubt I'll get out tonight. But just making that list is getting me pumped up. I want to see if I can strike out all those max speeds on my first ride out!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Top 50 Cycling Blogs

How could I not be on it?!?! Haha, just kidding. If you are looking for some good biking blogs to read up on, go check out LondonCyclist's list of the top Bike Blogs! A huge congrats and well deserved applause for a gal I've been following for awhile now, Jill from Up in Alaska for coming in 23rd!

I'd also like to point out I am now following a new guy, Coast Kid. A scotsman that takes a lot of pictures and videos!

In other news, I am still on my running regiment. Getting quicker and more endurance, so yay for that.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Running

This past work week has been a bit of a jump off the ship for me. After promising both myself and some coworkers that I would participate in this year's Baltimore Marathon (more correctly, I will be doing the half marathon), I began my training regiment. A coworker printed off a sheet that he used, Hal Hogdin's Half Marathon Training Guide. I have to admit, I haven't ran... ever.

That guide starts off with you running 3 miles. Well, that seemed a bit steep for me, so I did 2 miles all this week, averaging a terrible 20 minutes each run. Although, I do notice that it has gotten easier as the week has progressed, which probably has less to do with my leg muscles strengthening and more of me learning how to run properly. The first day I tried literally running. It was terribly painful and I was sore as hell after probably the first half mile. Now I just jog. While my speed has gone down, I can do this for a full two miles without wearing myself out.

Next week I will be back to biking. Since both use the legs, I figure a cross train would be ideal, and I just love biking much more.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Out on the BWI

Unfortunately my wife's allergies have just started up so I went riding on my own today. I left my house and travelled northbound on the B&A through Glen Burnie and jumped onto the BWI Loop. Seeing as how it was a beautiful day, there were a ton of people out so the trail was quite crowded. Spring had clearly sprung and the trees were in full bloom. About half way around the BWI Loop from where the B&A meets it is the highest point of the loop. There is a horse farm there and, in my opinion, the best view on the trail. That second picture is at the top of a windy hill that you can hit 35+ miles an hour on. I wanted to record it, but unfortunately my camera cut out early in the ride when I had to hang the camera to switch out some gears. Still, you can see the airport in all its beauty!
video

After you ride a bit more, you reach a small stream crossed over by a bridge. You can see a few similar pictures from me last year. But for this year...


And finally you end up at the main parking spot from the BWI Loop where planes come cruising over top of you to land.



All in all it was a great ride. My bicycle computer is saying it was just under 25 miles and mapmyride is saying 26 miles. Granted I really don't know the exact way I take from where the B&A ends to where I jump on the BWI, so I'll say it was 25 miles and be done.
Weight: 151.6

Happy East all!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Wife's New Bike!

My wife has been attempting to do some small rides with me. One of her best friends (whose fiance I have been riding with since last year) got herself a road bike just last week. Figuring it would be a blast to "double date" ride into Annapolis for dinner or just out to have some fun, my wife decided she wanted a road bike as well. Since she had been rocking a crappy walmart mountain bike, it was going to be a huge step up for her.

So we went riding around this morning to a few bike shops. We went to Bike Doctor in Crofton where she test road a Trek 1.2 WSD which was a pretty nice bike. It was the same bike her friend got, but unfortunately the massive sale they had last week when she got her bike wasn't still happening and the $840 price tag was a bit steep.

So then we headed to the Annapolis Mall, grabbed some lunch and went to Hudson Trail Outfitters, which is "my" local bike shop. Since I work right down the street from the mall, I generally head there once a week to check out some biking/hiking/climbing/kayaking stuff on my mandatory hour lunch break.

The guy I love to deal with wasn't working (John... if anybody reading this is in this area and looking for a knowledgable guy) but Collin was. Collin had also fixed my bike when I crashed down a drain pipe a few months back.

Anyways, he pulled down two bikes, a Giant Avail and the exact same bike I own, the Fuji Newest 2.0. She tested them both out with Collin leading the way while I took out a mountain bike I had on hold, the Fuji Nevada 1.0.

Nat liked both bikes, but since it was her very first time riding a road bike she couldn't really discern too much of a difference between either. The one thing she loved about the Fuji was the extra brake levers that are on the straight portion of the bar. And I love them too... makes you be able to break from your two most common hand grips.

So, we ended up getting the Fuji. Now both my wife and I rock the same bike! Her seat had to be cut down a bit, even though she was on the Small size, but Collin did a kick ass job of getting her fitted appropriately. And it was on a massive sale, $300 off the sticker price since it was last years model!





We are gonna head out tomorrow for a small little ride on the B&A so she can get a bit more used to it. Then hopefully next weekend we will be doing the BWI look with our friends!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

B&A Repairs

After work today I went for a little bike ride. Maryland is having beautiful weather, hovering in the upper 60s at 5pm. I took my normal loop, down Elvaton to the B&A, over to East West Blvd then do some street hopping to get back home.

But I totally forgot about the descrution of the B&A. It happens about 100 meters down from the junction of Elvaton and the B&A, and I was a bit surprised by it... I almost hit the fence they set up to keep people away. I climbed over that fence to get a better look...






Looks like they have just started getting some stones down there. But with all the rain we have had since then... I am sure the progress is slow. And they have some work cut out for them, as this is what they are holding it back against...



Luckily there is a little road that runs right across the other side of that bog, so I took that and went on my way.

So. I read quite a few biking blogs... and the biggest complaint I find bikers having is when people take the biking lane while in their cars. I have never had this issue as well, there really aren't any bike lanes (yet) anywhere I ride. But along East West Blvd there is an "activities" paved path that runs in the grass along the road. Nice and wide... wider than even the B&A. So... imagine my surprise when I see this wonderful sight on the path.



Haha.

Tack on another 11 miles for today...